Found: Sheffield’s lost Britpop album

Download Speedy’s debut for free later this month

In 2008 I posted about Speedy, one of Sheffield’s forgotten bands. You may know them from their 1996 single Boy Wonder. It wasn’t a big hit but it did appear on a Shine compilation album at the tail end of the series:

Speedy – formerly Blammo! – released a few singles but they were dumped by their label before their debut album News from Nowhere saw the light of day.

The Speedy long-player has presumably been sat in a record company vault somewhere – until now. On 15 December when you’ll be able to download a copy of this lost album for free.

Nick from the Britpop Revival blog is full of praise for the album:

Oh boy. It is that good. I listened to the whole thing with a huge smile on my face. And then I played it again, and then again…It feels unjust that a band can take the time to craft such a fine slice of pop music and then not even get to release it.

It sounds good doesn’t it? And it seems Speedy are happy about it going out in this way, with former singer Philip Watson is appearing on Nick’s blog’s radio show in January talk more about the band and their great lost debut album.

Britpop Revival: a Speedy recovery

1990s Sheffield bands

Were you involved?

Radio 2XS’s Jeff Cooper is working on a radio project focusing on the Sheffield music scene of 20 years ago.

The former Hallam FM presenter has loads of sessions and demos from the 1990s and is planning to involve as many of the bands’ members as he can find.

Forgotton Sheffield bands covered on this blog already include Various vegetables, the Dylans, Speedy (formerly Blammo), the Suncharms and Blameless.

Were you involved at the time, or can you help track down members of 1990s Sheffield bands? If so, email Jeff at studio@radio2xs.com.

Forgotten Sheffield bands: Speedy (formerly Blammo!)

Another quickly-forgotten Sheffield band is remembered here

In the early 90s I remember Blammo! playing quite a bit live in and around Sheffield, but it was only when they changed their name to Speedy that the band properly caught my attention.

Most memorable for me was the promotional campaign for their Boy wonder single. The artwork for the release featured a striking illustration of a boy in his Boy wonder pants and if I recall correctly it was plastered on lampposts all over the city centre in the run-up to its release in 1996.

This was just around the peak of Britpop when guitar bands were getting top 10 hits, but for Speedy this wasn’t to be. Despite the promotional campaign, Boy wonder failed to break into the top 40 and a couple of years later they split, with their debut album recorded but unreleased.

I saw them at Music in the sun in 1997 and they were great, holding their own on the bill alongside Longpigs and Baby bird (Stephen Jones was in a very irritable mood that day though). Speedy stood out as a good guitar band and were described by Sheffield music journalist Martin Lilleker as “lyrically clever-funny”.

This website has more information including a discography, which for some reason is presented as a PDF, plus there is more information on Blammo! on karllang.co.uk and in this thread.

Boy wonder did make it onto Polygram’s Shine 7 compilation album, but you can also listen to it here, courtesy of elbondo.com:


Boy wonder (1996) record sleeve,
taken from elbondo.com

Music in the sun – bring it back

With so much made of the city’s rich pop music heritage, isn’t Sheffield big enough to support an annual outdoor music festival?

In general, interest in music festivals is at an all time high with one almost every weekend during the summer months. And while festivals used to be seen as the preserve of alternative types, they are now a firm part of the summer social calendar for everyone and heavy media coverage means that millions more can follow the events remotely.

For a few years in the 1990s, Sheffield did have a multi-cultural music festival called Music in the sun. I have fond memories of this – it offered a mix of indie, dance and reggae and tended to include a lot of local acts. Several of these were quite big though and I remember seeing the Longpigs, Baby Bird and Speedy one sunny afternoon in about 1997.

2008 would be a great year to bring the festival back. At the moment Sheffield has a healthy local music scene, with several bands like Little Man Tate, the Long Blondes and Milburn that command a decent live following and would be perfect to play a summer event.

There are also plenty of talented singer-songwriters from Sheffield (Neil McSweeney, Stoney and Helen Boulding) who would be good for an acoustic tent, not to mention the dance acts, DJs, reggae bands and other less mainstream musicians that would give the festival a proper multi-cultural feel.

Plus, perhaps there could be a place for a couple of classic Sheffield bands to also play, for example ABC or Thompson Twins? Although you wouldn’t want to turn the whole thing into a Hear and now-style nostalgia-fest.

Care would also need to be taken that the headlining act wasn’t *too* current and popular as it would diminish the value of the festival and turn it into just a big gig. Certainly Arctic Monkeys, Jarvis Cocker and maybe Reverend and the Makers would fall into this category.

Over the last couple of years there have been murmurings of a return for Music in the sun, but nothing has been announced. I really hope that it comes back and gives Sheffield a music festival that it deserves.